My £300 32Amp Charging Station Install
In recent days I have received letters and offers of FREE charging station installations quoting prices that would normally be £1,313 (Polar March 2013); And this is just for a 16A charging station, if I want the 32 amp version I have to cough up another £75. Plus these ‘free’ charging stations require 3G data signals and data logging my charging to be shared with who knows who.
So a few weeks ago a forum member advertised their used 32A Rolec Unit (Retails for just over £400 new) and I snapped it up. This is the story of my installation and internal pictures of why these charging stations should NEVER cost anything like £1,000. Mine was bought and installed for less than £300.
First up the Rolec unit itself with the lid off:
It’s a fairly basic unit with a Siemens control module and the 32A contactor to the right of it. At the top of the case is the fuse and that’s it – 3 components. In later vesions of this unit you will find the Zero Carbon World unit inside this Rolec Charging Station.
Off to the garage….
This had been our ‘charging station’ for the first 6 months of Nissan LEAF driving. A £17 Screwfix double socket. We plugged in each night and next day a full battery ready for the off. It NEVER failed, worked in all weathers and requires no contract with anyone. Just £40 for the sparky to connect each end (I ran the cable along the inside garage wall – it’s just a cable, some clips and hammer). A standard outside socket is a perfectly safe and acceptable solution to charge your Nissan LEAF at 10 Amps, just make sure a sparky checks your wiring. This cost us £60 to buy, and install including the socket, 10 meters of cable, the breaker and the sparky.
Back to the charging station install: As all the connections and meter where the other side of the wall I decided to mount the Rolec 32A charger just beneath this double socket. First up was the decision on where to enter the cable into the charger. I decided on a entry point on the back plate of the unit so simply drilled a hold just beneath the metal cable support bracket. This was just a pilot hole then a hole saw from any standard drill set:
The hole to the right was my first attempt that then was covered when I re-attached the cable support bracket.
Next up drilling the hole through the garage wall. You either need a good hammer drill with a long masonary bit – I used my father-in-laws SDS drill with a huge long bit on the end; I then slid this through the entry point on the charging station:
I then also drilled 2 drain holes in the base of the charging station case to allow any moisture or condensation a route to drain out:
I then TEMPORARILY wired the unit in to test it before my sparky came and made the FINAL connection. Please re-read that – you need to get a qualified electrician to make the proper connection (I did not have the earth cable sheathed for instance):
The point is that this simple kit is out there and getting cheaper. You should be able to buy and install such a station for between £400 – £500. No contracts and it’s all 100% yours. The fact that some companies are building in 3G data modules and asking you to sign contracts and claim the cost would be over £1,300 is, frankly, astounding.
KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Overall this unit works great and charging at 16 Amps versus 10 Amps does make a difference. The unit is plastic and does flex a little; especially with such a substantial cable and plug attached; but this is a small issue for the usability this offers versus taking the EVSe cable out the boot twice a day.